“We are not alone,” was one of the first responses that arose from puzzled rangers when actual photographs of the strange triangular shiny metal plinth found in the remote desert of Utah were examined by archaeologists who trekked over miles of mountainous trails. There were no landing sites and no roads. Where did it come from and how did it get there?
The “popular” press report stated: “A strange metal monolith has been discovered in the Utah desert by a helicopter crew, leaving local authorities baffled. Wildlife officials spotted the 'unusual' object while counting sheep during a flyover in a remote southeastern area of the US state. They said the structure had been planted in the ground between red rock cliffs.”
The actual photographs are easily found on Google. It appeared to be between eight and 12 feet tall and made from an untarnished shiny metal of some sort.
One of the people who went to see and touch it, having pitched a tent to stay in in the hills above the night before, described it more or less like that. The next morning, when he went back to check it out with a group of climbers, it was gone. No sound, no super drone, no tracks, no apparatus, nothing.
Some people, seeing the news reports and the photos (including a video) immediately thought it had to have been put there by aliens, hence the “we are not alone" theory. One anonymous report, as though by someone trying to rubbish the whole thing, said he saw three guys come with wheelbarrows, who knocked it down (in this version it was not solid) and dragged the pieces away.
I liked this version, mainly because there was no effort to explain where these mysterious men appeared from – there was no sound of a helicopter in this account: they just appeared from the desert, leaving me asking where they got the wheelbarrows from.
But if the plinths were strange communication devices from another existence, that “they” didn’t want us to know about, in order to stop speculation, a brilliant method to remove “alien” speculation took place.
Within a week, three more appeared: one in Afascadero in California, one in Romania and thereafter, two in Poland. One of the latter, on a riverside in Warsaw according to a girl who was jogging past, had screws holding it together.
When stories are repeated, they cease to cause speculation, and just draw the response: “Oh! That old story again? What is for breakfast?”
It is a ploy used in industrial relations to cast doubt on allegations of misconduct in warehouses, storerooms, and, now that in-house dining is restricted, in restaurants.
When a new employee accuses another of pilferage, it may be taken seriously as possibly true. When the same employee accuses seven other employees of the theft of food supplies, he is likely to be regarded as making up stories, especially when he is accusing people in positions superior to his.
I remember one instance in a food manufacturing company where the youngster was dismissed for lying and trying to cause trouble. He was terminated within the probationary period.
After he left it was discovered that there was a theft “ring” in the company composed of security guards, warehouse supervisors and two manufacturing staff.
In another case, in a large hospital, a new employee who was not senior enough to benefit herself reported that she saw other doctors stopping by the hospital storeroom in their cars on their way out of the compound and collecting large parcels of frozen food. She was castigated as a whistleblower acting out of revenge for not being a beneficiary.
An audit and a video camera showed that she was telling a truth well known by hospital staff. When one doctor did it, it was a scandal. When most of them did it, it was, “So what?”
On the other hand, in a recent case in a commercial firm, when a single senior accounts person accused just one other employee of racism, the truth was quickly uncovered.
If 20 reports come in from 20 different trainees in 20 different locations about that manager verbally harassing them, which of course he denies, someone may well yawn and think, “Oh! That old story again!”, just as they used to react to complaints of racial discrimination in banks. Remember those days?
When only one hostess showed up for work with her hair in cane rows at what was then BWIA, she was sent home. When ten showed up with their hair in cane rows, it became no big thing.
What is true and what is not often depends on perception. Like these mysterious silvered plinths, the important thing may be: Is it right? Does it matter? If so, why?
If it does, no matter how often it happens and you explore the evidence, there may be a hidden agenda, or even a hidden danger that should not be shrugged off by, “Oh, that happens a lot!”
Is it against the rules? Are the rules reasonable? Should they be reinforced or changed? If so, why?
As we get toward the end of the year it is time for a review of policies and procedures and possible penalties.
And, yes, the pandemic has changed things. Some for good. It is time to review.